Greevn Kaipilana

Salt River rd., Woodstock, Cape Town, South Africa

2010 / 06 / 04 08:47

‘I got this bike as a present from my friend. They were using this bike on a film set, for tricks. Before I was using it as transport to work, then my back tyre broke I stopped. It’s now 3 months without riding the bicycle so today I decided to take it to get fixed. I prefer using a bicycle, not the taxi, because every time I’m in a taxi I get problems with the drivers or some times the guy that collects money in the taxi - I’ve had so many problems with the taxi’s. Sometimes they charge too much, sometimes they swear at you. When they see you are a foreigner, a Malawian like me, they decide to treat you anyhow they want. Once when I was working in Cape Town I went to the taxi rank and asked for a taxi to  Brooklyn, suddenly they take me to Blouberg. When I asked the driver “Where are you going?” He said, “Keep quiet, we know what we’re doing.” They took me to Blouberg all the way around and then to Brooklyn afterwards. I couldn’t even speak because they were like swearing at me. I wasn’t feeling good. And it wasn’t the first time. Even the other day when I went to see my friend in Simon’s Town I also had a big problem on the train. I decided not to use the trains anymore. It was my first time to go to Simon’s Town, I had a return ticket. So when I was coming back the train was leaving and I just jumped in, and also 3 women and 2 guys jumped in as well and they didn’t have tickets - me, I had a ticket. When the security guard came to check the tickets they found that I was on the wrong seat, and at Retreat they take me off the train. And the ones with no ticket they let them buy tickets and go. Then they started to ask me, “Where are your papers? Where is your permit?” They wanted to arrest me until I showed them my papers. And another time I was walking from Culemborg, it was a Saturday and the Monday was a public holiday, my friend had come to visit me - I work Monday to Saturday, Saturday I finished at 2 o’clock. When I finished work I was walking to town to take a taxi with my friend. My friend he didn’t have a permit, me I had a permit, and in my bag I had R300. A police car came and stopped, “Where are you going?” I said, “We’re going to my home.” “Where are you coming from?” they asked, and I told them that I was coming from work. They searched me and they didn’t find anything but they found the money in my bag. “Is this money real?” they asked me. I told them it was real money. Then they asked where I got the money. I told them I work... One of the guys grabbed me and pulled me to the side and said, “Okay, your friend don’t have papers - give me R100 and I will let you go. Otherwise you will go to jail until Tuesday because Monday is a public holiday.” I said, “What have I done wrong?” Then the other guy decided to take R20 from my friend and they let us go. All because I’m foreign. So I’m fixing this bike so I can be more independent.’

Stan Engelbrecht

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